“Forged in Massachusetts: Metal icons Staind and Godsmack represent at Mass Chaos” – May 31, 2012

“Forged in Massachusetts: Metal icons Staind and Godsmack represent at Mass Chaos” – May 31, 2012


Album review – The Dandy Warhols “This Machine” – May 31, 2012

Album review – The Dandy Warhols “This Machine” – May 31, 2012

Uneven electronica: Lindstrom and Mouse On Mars craft new releases


Six Cups of Rebel

(Smalltown Supersound)

Though popularly known for his barrage of remixes and 12” singles, Norwegian electronic artist Hans-Peter Lindstrom shoots for the stars on his fourth solo album. And inevitably, many listeners may find the end result comes up a bit short. Opening with the bombastic “No Release” featuring several minutes of spiraling cathedral organ,” the record quickly transitions to “De Javu” with lyrics concerning “that feeling that you’ve been here before.” Interestingly, the inclusion of vocals on the track is a first for the Nordic producer and remains a decision he came to amidst “mixed feelings.” Still, less a lyricist and more a singer interested in repeating mantras, Lindstrom’s falsetto brings a unique flavor to the otherwise forgettable “Magik.” While cited influences like Deep Purple and Bach are not always evident, the down-tuned guitars and ‘80s ambiance of “Quiet Place to Live” prove the “family man” may yet reach what he’s aiming for.

Listen to the track “Quiet Place To Live” by Lindstrom here:

Mouse On MarsMouse On Mars



On their first full-length studio release in six years, German electronic artists Jan St. Warner and Andi Toma craft an uneven album’s worth of chaotic samples and ambient soundscapes. According to press materials accompanying the disc, the record is “crammed with ideas, exuberance and sheer kinetic energy.” Unfortunately, most tracks suffer from sheer musical overload. The cut “Chordblocker, Cinnamon Toasted” features repeated samples of a voice saying the phrase “cinnamon toast crunch” over icy synth chords and a buzzing reminiscent of a malfunctioning laptop. Elsewhere, “Metrotopy” includes a recording of what appears to be a nail-gun pounding away over skittering eight-bit beats. Thankfully the album’s pace slows around the halfway point, giving songs a chance to breathe and show hidden depths. However with a sharp uptake in speed, the disc ends with a rush on “Seaqz,” which ratchets up in tension before expiring like a countdown clock on doomsday.

Watch the video for “Polaroyced” by Mouse On Mars here:

For more information on Lindstrom and Mouse On Mars please visit http://www.facebook.com/hplindstrom and http://www.mouseonmars.com/.

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“Behind the Beat: Going with the Flow” Able Thought – May 31, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Going with the Flow” Able Thought – May 31, 2012


“Behind the Beat: A Family Affair” The Darling Boys – May 24, 2012

“Behind the Beat: A Family Affair” The Darling Boys – May 24, 2012

Check your head: Masaki Batoh goes cranial on Brain Pulse Music

Brain Pulse MusicMasaki Batoh

Brain Pulse Music

(Drag City)

While “earworms” like “It’s a Small World” and the Mission Impossible them have been branded as songs you can’t get out of your head, the latest release by guitarist Batoh (of Ghost) began as an attempt to literally pull music from the mind.

Using a brain pulse reader attached to an oscillator, Batoh conceived a series of bio-electric procedures to create music from brain waves and allow Japanese patients to heal through sound while recuperating from the devastating earthquake which struck their country in March 2011.

Though several of these experiments are featured on his record, Batoh plays them alongside traditional Japanese folk instruments like Buddhist bells and wooden blocks to create “seven prayers and requiems” for the victims of the disaster.

Featuring titles such as “Aiki No Okami” and “Kumano Codex” parts one through five, the tracks make for an eerie and strangely reflective listen. There is also a tangible folk influence, which unfolds slowly amidst all the acoustic instrumentation.

Watch an instructional video for the Brain Pulse Music device here:

However 40-plus minutes of solemnity may be too much for most listeners. But, if you want to start conducting your own brain pulse experiments, Drag City is selling Brain Pulse Machines for a scant 700 dollars. According to Drag City, “the wilder the brain, the wilder the waves.” Just imagine the possibilities.

For more information on Masaki Batoh please visit http://www.dragcity.com/artists/masaki-batoh.

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‘Can’t be wrong,’ Doug Ratner and the Watchmen opening for Spin Doctors

Doug Ratner (Mary-Hope Beaulac)

Doug Ratner and the Watchmen (Photo credit: Mary-Hope Beaulac)

Fans of ‘90s nostalgia and local music are in luck this Friday. Springfield rockers Doug Ratner and the Watchmen (see photo) have landed a prime spot opening for alternative favorites the Spin Doctors at the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, and the recipe for the evening is a good time for all concerned.

Popularly known for the hits “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” which hit numbers 7 and 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993 respectively, the Spin Doctors recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of their most popular album Pocketful of Kryptonite in 2011 and have continued playing sporadic shows whenever the urge to relive the glory days becomes too much to bear.

On the flipside of the bill, the members of the up-and-coming Valley group Doug Ratner and the Watchmen are currently riding a wave of buzz stemming from the release of the song “Bomb in the Backseat” from their album Lessons Well Learned. In fact, a raucous performance of the track on the local television program Mass Appeal in March led to the band’s subsequent ban from the show, and soon after the ensuing publicity led to “Bomb in the Backseat” rocketing up the best-sellers chart on Amazon.com.

“We’re not afraid to take chances,” said singer Doug Ratner in an interview after his band’s Mass Appeal ban. “We’re not afraid to write a song called ‘Bomb in the Backseat’ that makes statements about society. If people get very offended, we’re sorry that you get offended. We’re sorry if it’s controversial. But it’s reality. And if you don’t state things about reality then people are just going to be blind to it and ignore it for the rest of their lives.”

Watch the official video for “Bomb in the Backseat” by Doug Ratner and the Watchmen here:

Spin Doctors with opener Doug Ratner and the Watchmen, May 18, 8 p.m., $12.50-15, Pearl Street Nightclub, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, (413) 584-7771, http://www.iheg.com/pearl_street_main.asp.

For more information on Doug Ratner and the Watchmen or the Spin Doctors please visit http://www.facebook.com/dougratnerandthewatchmen and www.spindoctors.com.

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